Texas preview

Ketara Chapel returns to her home state tonight to take on Texas. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Ketara Chapel returns to her home state tonight to take on Texas. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Mississippi State moved up to No. 9 in this week’s USA Today Coaches Poll on the eve of a Top-10 showdown at No. 6 Texas on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs moved up one spot in the ranking, a day after coming in at No. 9 in the Associated Press poll.

Wednesday’s game against the Longhorns, who moved up to No. 6 in both polls, tips at 7 p.m. in the Frank C. Erwin Center. Fans can watch the game on the Longhorn Network and online on ESPN3.

The contest will also be broadcast in the Golden Triangle on WNMQ-FM 103.1.

“We are playing a great basketball team in Texas that is well-coached. Coach (Karen) Ashton has done a tremendous job. I know her staff extremely well. They are people who do it and get it done the right way,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We will be facing a well-coached and highly-skilled basketball team. They are very good right now coming off of a big win at Tennessee.

“I am excited to take these young ladies on the road and see how they respond in that environment. I know I have some kids who have been in that environment many times, and I feel very confident in them. I have some young players who have not been in that environment, so I am anxious to see how they respond. We are looking forward to the challenge knowing that we are going in and facing an excellent basketball team.”

Mississippi State has now been ranked 21st-straight weeks in the poll, including two-straight in the Top 10, after starting the season 5-0.

The Bulldogs, winners of 26-straight regular-season non-conference games, enter Wednesday’s game in the Top 10 nationally in 11 categories. State tops the country in scoring defense (37.2 ppg), scoring margin (+56.4), offensive rebounds (25.6), assists (23.4), turnover margin (+18.4) and assist/turnover ratio (2.4).

Sophomore Victoria Vivians paces the Bulldogs with an SEC fourth-most 18.2 ppg. The Preseason Wooden Award Watch List candidate is shooting 52.9 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from 3-point range.

The Carthage native, who tops the league with 3.0 made 3-pointers per game, scored a season-high 27 points against Savannah State. In her last four games, she has averaged 20.8 ppg while shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc.

SEC Freshman of the Week Teaira McCowan tops the team with and rates third in the SEC with 9.4 rebounds per game while rating second on the squad with 13.6 ppg.

Mississippi State will look to continue is success taking care of the basketball, as the Bulldogs have dished 117 assists to just 49 turnovers. Sophomore Morgan William has been a catalyst to that success, topping the country with a 9.7 assist/turnover ratio.

Texas heads into its second-straight game against a Top-10 foe with a 5-0 record. The Longhorns defeated then-No. 4 Tennessee 64-53 last Sunday, snapping the Lady Volunteers’ 27-game home win streak.

Imani Boyette paces Texas with 12.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Brooke McCarty follows with 12.4 ppg.

The Longhorns’ win dropped Tennessee just ahead of MSU at No. 8. South Carolina stayed at No. 2, while Kentucky moved into the Top 10 at No. 10. Texas A&M rounded out the SEC teams in the poll at No. 11.

(From MSU Media Relations)

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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